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Offaly Manager Claims GAA In Serious Trouble Due To Rise Of Rugby

Offaly Manager Claims GAA In Serious Trouble Due To Rise Of Rugby
Mikey Traynor
By Mikey Traynor
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Offaly manager Pat Flanagan was not caught up in the Rugby World Cup frenzy that gripped the nation until we were brought crashing back down to Earth last weekend, instead he was growing more and more concerned that the growing interest in the sport of rugby will have a negative impact on the GAA.

Flanagan points to the gap between the stronger and weaker counties as one of the main reasons for waning interest, and claims that if action isn't taken soon then the GAA will lose more and more players to rugby.

We have one football coach in our county - every club in Dublin has a football coach.

So, what's going to happen is that they'll move to an even different level. Maybe it's time for the hierachy to realise that we need to develop football at schools levels, more coaches at club level. If you look at what's happening with the Rugby World Cup, what it's generating, we're in serious trouble unless we got back to the grassroots and start bringing it up.

Rugby will, and has been in the last number of years, impacting on our Gaelic players and it's going to continue to do so. Our hierarchy must decide to develop the weaker counties, so we can compete against the likes of Dublin because fans won't come to these games unless there's competition.


It is funny that the main topic of debate in GAA is the gap between the stronger and weaker counties, while in Rugby everyone is talking about the gulf in class between the northern and southern hemsiphere, but Flanagan warns that if a plan of action is not put in place to develop the weaker counties, then Rugby will continue to impact on the attendances of football and hurling.

You go back years, there was huge crowds because of the competitiveness between the two teams, because of the actual type of game that was being played back then compared to what's being played today.

Someone needs to waken up and have a serious look at how we're going to progress over the next 15, 20 years because if not we're going to be under threat.

It's clear that the national rugby team have a following now that they never did before, so it is understandable that Flanagan would want action taken to grow interest in football and hurling going forward.

Whether anything will be done remains to be seen.


via HoganStand.com



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